Exploding Head Syndrome – I’ve had it, it’s weird

Last night was happily dropping off to sleep when I was jolted up from my pillow by this enormous bang – it was the kind of noise that occurs when a shelf falls down bringing your entire book collection with it. After a quick pootle round my office to check that Billy the Bookcase was still upstanding I realised something….I’d had exploding head syndrome. This was highly exciting – this was the topic of one of the first ever pieces I wrote on this blog. And so, in honour of my discovery I’m reposting it below….Exploding Head sufferers of the world unite – I’ll make us a badge.


The Original Post

I recently wrote a piece for the UK’s Woman magazine on what your body noises mean. Sadly, my favourite ‘noise’ got dropped for space (in my world that’s often editor speak for ‘you’re indulging your love of the strange again aren’t you’). It’s a problem called exploding head syndrome.

Charactised by hearing a scary, loud bang in your head just as you fall asleep, it affects mostly women – terrifying the beehayzus out of each and every one of them I’d guess.

Well first let’s reassure you if it’s happening to you, you’re not going mad, nor have you had a stroke, or have a brain tumour. ‘Exploding head syndrome is part of a set of strange behaviours during sleep we called parasomnias,’ says sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley – who probably regretted picking the phone up that day. ’Why it occurs we have no idea, but going to sleep is not like turning off a light switch, it’s more like shutting down a computer and sometimes glitches occur.’ It has been shown to be more likely if people are stressed. The good news is, the problem does pass – you may get 2-4 affected nights on a trot and then it’ll disappear, so don’t worry about it and, if you are under attack don’t stress about whether it’s going to happen. ‘That can start making sleep a problem and trigger insomnia,’ says Dr Stanley. And that is a problem.

Read the science bit here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1031943/

1 Comment

  1. Hankie

    I’ve got exploding head syndrome too! In addition to loud bangs i also get people arguing very loudly and aggressively in A language i don’t understand, white noise/electrical buzzing and flashes of light. I was so confused until I found out whatit was! Thank god for Google!!! 😀


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